Author(s): Michael D. Haydock
At the close of World War II, the Soviet Union controlled all of eastern Germany with the exception of the American, British, and French sectors of Berlin. In June 1948, Soviet authorities halted the West's land access to the city, apparently dooming the inhabitants of its Western sectors to starvation. Would half of Berlin remain free and democratic, or would it succumb to Stalin's stranglehold? American and British planes immediately began a massive airlift that would last for fifteen months. Flying 276,926 dangerous missions, often in bad weather, and bringing in 2.3 million tons of food and coal, the legendary Berlin Airlift cost the lives of 75 U.S. and British airmen but saved the besieged enclave. Focusing on the experience of airmen, politicians, and ordinary citizens, historian Michael D. Haydock tells the human story of a spectacular aviation and logistical accomplishment that has had lasting geopolitical significance.